And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights


Phillies 7, Diamondbacks 1: Domonic Brown’s debut was a splendid one: a
single, an RBI double and a sac fly. Carlos Ruiz had two RBI doubles. No
pressure on the offense on this night, however, as Roy Halladay took a
shutout into the ninth and ended up with the complete game.

3, Nationals 1
: Jason Heyward Stole Home. I want to crow about this and
add it to his legend and everything, but this wasn’t exactly the
Jackie-Robinson-sliding-under-Yogi’s-tag mental image we all get when
someone says “so-and-so stole home.” Basically Brian McCann was
dead-to-rights on either a steal or a botched hit and run between first
and second and got himself caught in a rundown long enough to let
Heyward come in from third. Yes, that’s technically a steal of home. We
should either call that or the more dramatic straight steal of home
something else though. Because one is pure beauty and the other is just
kind of a mess.

Giants 10, Marlins 9: The Giants blew a 7-1 lead
but Andres Torres — who had earlier splashed one into McCovey Cove, hit
a walkoff RBI single in the tenth. It was really kind of a ground rule
double in that it bounced over the wall, but since there was a runner on
third it goes in the books as a plain old single because that’s all
that was necessary to score the winning run. I’m going to call it a
ground rule single, though, because that just sounds more fun.

Cardinals 8, Mets 7: The Cardinals jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first and led 7-2 as late as the sixth inning, when Jaime Garcia hit a wall and Mitchell Boggs threw kerosene on the fire. Six relievers and seven innings later St. Louis prevails on an Albert Pujols RBI single in the 13th. The last time Garcia and Johan Santana faced each other it went 20 innings, however, so this was a crisp one by comparison. 

Reds 10, Brewers 2: Brandon Phillips hit a monster grand slam that bounced off Bernie Brewer’s big, twisty yellow slide. This never would have happened if they had just left his cool, little, beer-stein slide out there the way God and Nature intended.

Astros 8, Cubs 1: Two homers for Carlos Lee. If he has another day like that one his OBP may inch over .300 and his SLG may top .400. For his part, Lee credits new Astros’ hitting coach Jeff Bagwell. The Astros would probably be better off if they activated Bagwell instead.

Blue Jays 5, Orioles 0: Brad Mills — who had only two undistinguished starts in his career before last night — gets the callup for the Jays and the Orioles make him look like he’s Greg Maddux (7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER). A decent night for O’s starter Jeremy Guthrie too (7 IP, 6 H, 0 ER). I’m surprised there hasn’t been more trade chatter about him.

Red Sox 7, Angels 3: Joel Piniero was scratched before the game with an oblique strain and Scot “I haven’t started a game in seven years” Shields got the call. He went an inning and two-thirds, gave up a couple of bombs, threw too many pitches and was followed by a parade of relievers who kept the Angels in it by virtue of the Sox leaving so many runners on base. Marco Scutaro ended the competitive portion of the game with an eighth inning grand slam.

Twins 6, Royals 4: So much for that “Brian Bannister is great in day games” baloney that people (me) like to spew. Banny was roughed up for five runs on 11 hits in six innings. Of course given how the Royals’ pitchers had been doing against Minnesota this series, that qualifies as a gutsy, effective outing. A three-run bomb for Delmon Young, whose wonderful season continues. At the outset I had assumed it was a Faustian bargain kind of thing, but the more I see, the more I think that just maybe he’s made The Leap.

Rays 7, Tigers 4: Eddie Bonine: a reliever is pressed into service as a spot starter and the results were quite Scot Shieldsian (3.1 IP, 8 H, 5 ER). Matt Joyce and Carlos Pena continue to do damage against the Tigers. Which reminds me: yesterday I joked that the Rays should run out a lineup of old Tigers. In that lineup, I included Ray Oyler, saying that he was about to turn 72 next week.  Which he would have if he hadn’t died 29 years ago. I regret the error, but I stand by using Oyler in a gimmicky lineup because you can say what you want about him, but his plate patience is way better than it was back in his playing and living days.

Padres 6, Dodegers 1: Five Padres pitchers combine to four-hit the Dodgers. But don’t worry: Scott Podsednik will be in uniform tonight, so the offensive equation will totally change.

White Sox 6, Mariners 5: A rough start for Mark Buehrle, but the Sox overcome it with the longball. Bobby Jenks strikes out the side in the ninth for the save, so we’re back to normal there.

Pirates 6, Rockies 2: Colorado’s post-break nightmare continues. Pirates starter Ross Ohlendorf was hit in the head with a comebacker in the first but made it to the hospital and back before the game ended. The game lasted 3:17, so you figure with travel time and however long the game had gone on when he was hit, he was at the hospital for less than three hours. Query: have any of you ever gotten out of a hospital visit that quickly for an injury/observation kind of thing? My wife fell and thought she broke something once and we were there for, like, seven hours. It’s good to be a ballplayer.

Athletics 3, Rangers 1: Trevor Cahill two-hits the first place Rangers over eight innings. Kurt Suzuki hit a solo homer, had an RBI single and was driven in to score a third run by Jack Cust.

Yankees 8, Indians 0: The Yankees pounce on Fausto Carmona for seven runs in the first three innings and never look back. Six and a third shutout innings for A.J. Burnett. Joba Chamberlain came in in the seventh, walked Andy Marte and then balked him to second before settling down and retiring the last two batters of the inning. I’m sure this will analyzed to the nth degree in the tabloids today.

Maybe Alcides Escobar shouldn’t bat leadoff

Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar finished with a .292 OBP this year. He came in at .246 in 117 at-bats in August and .257 in 109 at-bats between September and October, so he wasn’t exactly flying high entering the postseason. Still, that didn’t stop Ned Yost from putting him into the leadoff spot for Thursday’s Game 1 against the Astros.

Yost finally did reconsider hitting Escobar first in September. It took Alex Gordon‘s return to health, plus the previous addition of Ben Zobrist to the lineup, in order to make that happen. However, it didn’t stick. Escobar hit ninth in each of his starts from Sept. 7-26, batting .236 with a .276 OBP during that span. With five games left to go, he was suddenly returned to the leadoff spot. The Royals went on to win all five games. Yost saw it as a sign, even though Escobar went 5-for-22 with no walks in those games.

Escobar went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s loss to the Astros. He did not swing at the first pitch of the game, which probably explains the defeat.

It’s been difficult to argue with Yost since last year’s World Series run and this year’s incredible run out of the game. The blind spot with Escobar, though, gets rather infuriating. One can defend hitting him leadoff against the Astros’ lefties. His career OBP against southpaws is .319 (.316 this year). Against righties, he’s the most obvious No. 9 hitter alive, with a career .258/.290/.342 line (.252/.284/.314 this year). He’s not a pace-setter. He’s not a spark plug. He’s a liability.

Astros top Royals in Game 1 of ALDS

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve, left, celebrates with teammate Luis Valbuena after scoring a run during the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

After shutting out the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday, the Astros beat the Royals 5-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. Road teams are now 4-0 to begin the 2015 postseason.

The Astros grabbed an early 3-0 lead against Yordano Ventura through two innings. Chris Young took over for the Royals after a 47-minute rain delay and was very effective for the most part, allowing just a solo homer to George Springer over four innings while striking out seven batters. Colby Rasmus, who homered in the Wild Card game, took Ryan Madson deep in the eighth inning to give the Astros’ bullpen some extra breathing room.

Collin McHugh stayed in after the rain delay and ended up tossing six innings while allowing just four hits and one walk. Kendrys Morales did all the damage against him with a pair of solo homers. He’s the first Royals player to hit two home runs in a postseason game since George Brett in the 1985 ALCS.

The Royals’ offense showed some signs of life in the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back two-out hits against Will Harris, but Oliver Perez got Eric Hosmer to foul out to end the threat. Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the victory.

Consistent with their identity during the regular season, the Astros won despite striking out 14 times. The same goes for the Royals, as they struck out just four times. Despite putting the ball into play more often, the Kansas City lineup wasn’t able to muster anything aside from the home runs by Morales.

Game 2 of the ALDS will begin Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET. Scott Kazmir will pitch for the Astros and Johnny Cueto will get the ball for the Royals.

George Springer homers to extend Astros’ lead over Royals

Houston Astros' George Springer (4) celebrates with teammates after scoring a run in the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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After Kendrys Morales brought the Royals within one run in the bottom of the fourth inning with his second solo home run of the game, George Springer took Chris Young deep in the top of the fifth to extend the Astros’ lead to 4-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS.

According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 422 feet and left Springer’s bat at 109 mph. Royals fans are happy it was just a solo home run. It could have been worse, as Jose Altuve singled to lead off the fifth inning before being thrown out trying to steal second base during Springer’s at-bat.

The Royals will try to answer as we move to the bottom of the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.